While most people are still clamoring to find last minute holiday gifts, I did some of my shopping early in an unexpected place. When my mom sold her house in September, I didn't have to look further than her china cabinet for some hidden treasures.
Buried behind rows of dishes and glasses in her breakfront, were beautiful platters and figurines. Though she took her favorite pieces to her new apartment, she let me choose from the rest of her collection.
I even set aside some manly bar glasses for our boys. As I was rummaging through the wet bar, I was reminded of the holiday parties we had growing up. My mom would wear her long silky tiger print robe, while she served champagne punch in cheetah print glasses to our guests seated on the comfy leopard couch.
My brother and I would look up at the adults from the rust shag carpeting, before we would race to load up on crabmeat dip, sweet and sour meatballs, and other delicious hors d'oeuvres. My dad was in charge of serving the "real" drinks, when he wasn't carving the turkey or brisket. During the summer, he was known for his expert grilling techniques.
Clean up duty was even fun at family gatherings, because all of the women would work together. My mom and grandma were in charge of putting the leftovers away, while I loaded the dishwasher, and my great aunts would help dry the remaining dishes. I wish that I could remember some of the wonderful conversations that took place back then.
Though my mom had hoped to sell more of her antiques, there were some surprises along the way. As I was packing up her clothes and shoes for charity, I found a beautiful pair of black boots that had never been worn. Enclosed was the receipt dating back to 1997. The next day I tried to return the boots to the department store, and they issued a full cash refund.
Shortly before the closing, I went back to the house for one last look when I found a small white box. It contained a generous gift certificate to a day spa dated from November 1988. I put it in my purse for safe keeping, gathered the rest of the last minute items, and said goodbye to my childhood home.
Recently, I went to the luxurious day spa, and gave the twenty-four-year-old gift certificate to the cashier. I was hoping that it would still have some cash value, and was astounded when she agreed to honor the original amount. I thanked her, and asked her to issue a new gift card, because I didn't want to take any chances.
The other day my mom asked me what I wanted for Hanukkah, and I told her that she already gave me a wonderful present. I reminded her about the gift certificate, and said that we could both share a day of beauty together. Although she liked the idea, she still hasn't forgiven me for replacing her forty-five-year-old shag carpeting.
*Just a note to let you know that I'll be taking a short family break. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday, and the next time a relative asks you to help them clean out their cupboards, be sure to run right over.